Wednesday, October 14, 2009

VA/WV Vacation Day 2, Part 1: Bristol Caverns

Our first activity for this vacation was to visit the Bristol Caverns. My plan was for us to get up, quickly grab some breakfast, shower up, pack up and hit the caves as soon as they opened! I guess someone forgot to remind me we were now traveling with a baby! Reality hit pretty quickly Friday morning - it took us TWO hours to do all those simple tasks! With tons of luggage and Lilli being so into EVERYTHING you really have to take turns getting things done. We did utilize "the babysitter" quite a bit on this trip in order for us to get ready and packed in as somewhat a timely manner as possible.

We never let Lilli watch TV or any of those goofy "baby" videos, so this was a huge treat for her. This was right after a diaper change, normally while we were getting dressed in the morning we'd park her crib in front of cartoons and buy ourselves a few minutes. She became a huge fan of "Dinosaur World" on this trip! We FINALLY got all our luggage together and checked out, and by this time Lilli was ready for a nap in the car. Downtown Bristol was really cute, and it was really neat how one side of the street was TN and one side was VA.

This naturally led to lots of boring business people talk between Brent and I as to which side is better to work in/live in as far as taxes go!

Bristol - A GOOD place to live. Not Great, just Good.
After a little bit of confusion GPS-man got us to the cave. The building was a little plain, and was pretty much deserted which I felt like was a great thing since we weren't sure how Lilli would like spelunking.
Since there was no sign anyone else would ever show up, and one of the guides was totally bored, they took us right down to the cave. Just like the "main" building the cave entrance was a little underwhelming, but once we were inside the formations were really beautiful!
One of the formations:
Our guide was pretty weird. He was a college kid with no interest in caves, majoring in International Business. He'd talk normal to us and then when he started his "speech" he'd get extremely loud and formal. It was pretty awkward since this was our own "private" tour! He eventually warmed up to us, but tour guide-ing is really not his calling.
Brent and Lilli going through one of the low points:We started Lilli out in the backpack, after about 30 minutes she got a little tired of it so Brent ended up carrying her. It took us so long to get ready in the morning, that by the time we got into an activity like this she starts to get tired and hungry for another bottle, so things like being in a backpack start being not her favorite. She was fine once Brent carried her, but that was pretty tough since there were a lot of STEEP stairs to go up and down, and since everything in a cave is wet and slick.

Another view:

Coming back through the low point on our return trip:
This was a wishing post you could actually touch:As soon as our tour was up we gave Lilli a bottle and a diaper change and headed out of Bristol and truly into Virginia. Our next stop was a Mill in Abingdon, VA.

Welcome (back) to Virginia!
Bristol Caverns probably had the prettiest formations, although I think my favorite cave was one we visited on Saturday. I would def recommend this one, esp since it is so low key and off the tourist radar. We were really happy with how well Lilli did on the cave tour so it gave us a lot of hope for the remaining things we had planned. Stay tuned for the next installments, up next is the (disappointing) mill we visited and Fort Chiswell Animal Park - which was mine and Brent's favorite activity of the whole trip! For now I have some fresh, homemade pumpkin muffins for work tomorrow that we need to sample to make sure they're edible!= )

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